Select Page

Quantitative PCR Assessment of Microsatellite and SNP Genotyping with Variable Quality DNA Extracts

Aug 23, 2008


In this study we developed eight quantitative PCR (qPCR) assays to evaluate the starting copy number of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA fragments ranging from 75 to 350 base-pairs in DNA extracts from Chinook salmon tissues with varying quality. Samples were genotyped with 13 microsatellite and 29 SNP assays and average genotyping success for good, intermediate, and poor quality samples was 96%, 24%, and 24% for microsatellite loci, and 98%, 97%, and 79% for SNPs, respectively. As measured by qPCR, good quality samples had a consistently high number of starting copies across all fragment sizes with little change between the smallest and largest size. In contrast, the intermediate and poor quality samples displayed decreases in starting copy number as fragment size increased, and was most pronounced with poor samples. Logistic regression of genotyping success by starting copy number indicated that in order to achieve at least 90% genotyping success, approximately 1,000 starting copies of nuclear DNA are necessary for microsatellite loci, and as few as 14 starting copies for SNP assays (but we recommend at least 50 copies to reduce genotyping error). While these guidelines apply specifically to Chinook salmon and the genetic markers included in this study, the principles are transferable to other species and markers due to the underlying process associated with template quantity and PCR amplification.



Campbell N.R, and S.R. Narum. 2009. Quantitative PCR assessment of microsatellite and SNP genotyping with variable quality DNA extracts. Conservation Genetics 10:779-784. Online at



Report No.


Media Type

Journal Article